5 useful websites for thriller research

Writing thrillers typically involves a lot of research, and I’m often asked which websites I use when I don’t have access to information or an expert to whom I can turn. I thought I’d list a few here to get you started, and I’ve also included some websites which have proven to be useful for story ideas too. The following links come with a disclaimer that some are not for the faint-hearted or squeamish, so if you’re easily offended please don’t click on them!

BBC Magazine

This is a features website which covers a multitude of topics at the cutting edge of science, environment, health, socio-political and IT. Actually, all of the BBC sites are worth a look – just make sure you’ve got a spare afternoon because you will get side-tracked!

Forensics for Fiction

Tom Adair is a forensic specialist and author who had the idea for this blog a couple of years ago, and I’ve always been enamoured with his approach to explaining processes and procedures. Anyone who has a blog topic heading that reads ‘Ever wondered if an AK-47 will fire underwater?’ gets
my attention straight away! Tom is very approachable so if you have a nagging
question about what, why or how within the forensics field, Tom’s your go-to
man (but do have a trawl through the archives first – chances are, he’s already
addressed it, along with many more questions that you didn’t even know you
wanted to ask!).

Forensic Outreach

A UK-based organisation which aims to promote forensic science on the school curriculum, they’ve now expanded to include some really useful advice through their website for authors. Website sections include ‘Bodies and Bones’, ‘Field Work’, ‘Criminal Mind’ and ‘Traces’. Highly recommended reading.

Crime Library

Author Simon Higgins recommended this website at the 2012 Genrecon seminars in Sydney. Basically it’s a website which documents true crime stories and how the perpetrators were caught. This is definitely one of the websites that come with the warning I posted above.

Foreign Policy
A current affairs and socio-political news website, this often includes interesting articles which may trigger an idea or two in your head…

Finally, the ‘defence’ sections of any newspaper are worth reading to keep up to date on current issues faced by a country’s armed forces – and don’t just limit yourself to your own country’s newspapers. It’s well worth having a peek at what other countries are reporting – you never know where that idea will spring from!

I hope this list proves useful to you in your writing, and I’d love to receive your comments on what websites you use for research purposes.

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